Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 7/5/13
Jeremy Roenick fans may disagree, but you can make the argument that the Coyotes have lacked an elite, play-making center ever since they arrived in the Valley in 1996. That changed on Friday. Less than an hour after the free agency period opened, the Coyotes agreed to terms with free-agent center Mike Ribeiro on a four-year deal worth 22 million (average of 5.5 million). Ribeiro was one of the top players on the market this season. Ribeiro, 33, had 13 goals and 49 points in 48 games for the Washington Capitals last season. He played for Coyotes coach Dave Tippett for three seasons in Dallas (2006-09). The best of those seasons was 2007-08 when he had 27 goals and 83 points, but he has posted at least 34 assists in his last nine NHL seasons and has topped 40 six times in that span. With Matthew Lombardi injured much of the lockout shortened 2013 season, the Coyotes top four centers combined for 39 assists last season. You look at our roster, hes the kind of player were missing: A top centerman who is a great playmaker, Tippett said of Ribeiro. He has a creativity that is ahead of a lot of players. He can be a quirky guy, but he just has a unique ability to hold the puck, make great plays and find players in spaces. He makes plays other players cant make. The Coyotes could play Ribeiro on their top line with Shane Doan and Mikkel Boedker, assuming the Coyotes can re-sign Boedker, a restricted free agent who is arbitration eligible. Ribeiros play-making ability could really help Boedker, who didnt meet offensive expectations with seven goals and 26 points in 48 games last season. You could definitely talk about a line of Ribeiro, Shane Doan and (Mikkel) Boedker, but I think we have some options with our top two groups now, Tippett said. With (Martin) Hanzal and (Radim) Vrbata, youve got some pieces to work with. The Coyotes may still be in the market for a left wing on their second line, but the prices were awfully steep on Friday, so they might take some time to assess where they are before diving into those waters. It is also possible that top pick Max Domi could get a shot on the left side. In any case, if anybody was wondering what new owners George Gosbee, Anthony LeBanc and Co. might do to prove they are committed to winning right now, the group left little doubt with this move. The Ribeiro move was easily the biggest for the Coyotes, but it wasnt the only move they made on an active day. Phoenix re-signed unrestricted free agent forward Kyle Chipchura (one year, 675,000), restricted free agent forward Lauri Korpikoski (four years, 10 million) and defenseman Michael Stone (three years) The team also signed goalie Thomas Greiss (San Jose) to a one-year, 750,000 deal to be Mike Smiths backup. The Coyotes werent happy with Jason LaBarberas play last season and elected to go in another direction after some preliminary talks with LaBarbera. LaBarbera ended up signing a one-year deal with Edmonton on Friday, but the Oilers took away a more significant piece when they signed free-agent center Boyd Gordon to a three-year deal worth a whopping 9 million, robbing Phoenix of a faceoff and shot-blocking specialist who fit extremely well in Tippetts defense-first system. It was very disappointing to lose Gordo, Tippett said. With Gordon gone, the top four Coyotes centers are Ribeiro, Hanzal, Antoine Vermette and Chipchura, who will have a chance to fill Gordons role. The Coyotes think he can, based on how effective he was when Phoenix eliminated Chicago in the first round of the playoffs in 2012. Follow Craig Morgan on Twitter
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Brian Cashman defends A-Rod despite season's struggles

Report: Charles’ workload won’t be limited if healthy

Report: Westbrook doesn’t want trade, will think about extension

Chargers don’t know if Joey Bosa will report to camp

Report: RG3 to be given four out of five first-team reps


Report: Peterson likely entering last season with Vikings

Cubs trade for Chapman a risk, but potential payoff too hard to ignore

Wisconsin kicker will wear 27 to honor Nebraska's Sam Foltz

Dennis Schroder wears disguise to play in German streetball tournament

Browns indicate they will give Josh Gordon another chance

Prince Fielder to undergo season-ending neck surgery

Top five storylines heading into MLB trade deadline

Angels listening to offers on Hector Santiago

Chris Sale’s so-called ‘apology’ was anything but

Ten hottest golfers heading into 2016 PGA Championship

Five NFL sophomores poised to break out in 2016

Tre Mason's family concerned about RB's mental health?

Dion Waiters' deal signals the end of the 2016 money grab

Tom Jackson could leave ESPN after almost three decades

Cavs sign coach Tyronn Lue to a five-year extension

More than 10,000 people registered for Jaguars Pokemon Go night

NFL issues new concussion protocol

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker